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Food inflation has rocketed to its highest rate on record as soaring input costs continue to mount for suppliers, according to new figures this morning.

The latest shop price index by the BRC and NielsenIQ showed an acceleration in food inflation to 10.6% in September, up from 9.3% in the previous month and the highest recorded in the series.

The ongoing conflict in Ukraine had pushed up the price of a wide number of commodities, including animal feed, fertiliser and vegetable oil, putting pressure on fresh food prices, particularly for products such as margarine, the BRC said. Although, a heatwave over the summer helped push down prices for some fruits, such as strawberries, blueberries and tomatoes.

Fresh food inflation soared to 12.1% this month, up from 10.5% in August, while ambient inflation rose from 7.8% to 8.6%, with the figures being the highest on record for fresh and the fatest rate of increase recorded for ambient.

Non-food inflation rose to 3.3% in September, compared with 2.9% in August, putting overall shop price annual inflation for the month at 5.7%, up from 5.1%, marking another record since the index started in 2005.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said retailers were battling huge cost pressures from the weak pound, rising energy bills and global commodity prices, high transport costs, a tight labour market and the cumulative burden of government-imposed costs.

“And, with business rates set to jump by 10% next April, squeezed retailers face an additional £800m in unaffordable tax rises,” she added. “Government must urgently freeze the business rates multiplier to give retailers more scope to do more to help households.”

Mike Watkins, NielsenIQ head of retailer and business insight, said: “With food and household energy prices continuing to rise, it’s no surprise that NielsenIQ data shows that 76% of consumers are saying they expect to be moderately or severely affected by the cost-of-living crisis over the next 3 months, up from 57% in the summer.

“So households will be looking for savings to help manage their personal finances this autumn and we expect shoppers to become more cautious about discretionary spend, adding to pressure in the retail sector.”

Morning update

It’s quiet elsewhere on the markets this morning.

The FTSE 100 has slumped below 7,000pts following stinging criticism from the IMF of the Chancellor’s unfunded tax cuts. The index is down 1.8% to 6,857.96pts so far.

It’s pretty much red across the board for fmcg stocks this morning, with Glanbia leading the fallers, down 3.9% to €11.34, THG down 3.8% to 38.7p, Bakkavor down 3.7% to 86.7p, Ocado down 3.6% to 521.5p and AG Barr down 3.1% to 476.5p.

Risers are few and far between, with PayPoint up 1.4% to 611.5p, British American Tobacco up 0.4% to 3,387p, Imperial Brands up 0.2% to 1,900p and Naked Wines up 0.1% to 85p.

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 just about managed to keep its head above water yesterday, closing almost flat at 7,023.85pts as the pound bounced back from record lows.

Irn-Bru maker AG Barr saw its shares fall 1.4% to 490.3p despite sales fizzing 17% higher in its first half following a good summer. However, the group warned of margin pressure going forward.

Travel group SSP also slipped back 0.9% to 209.8p despite a trading update showing a strong end to the year as passenger numbers rebounded.

Other losers included Hilton Food Group, slumping 6.4% to 571p, Supermarket Income REIT, down 5.6% to 97.2p, Fever-Tree, down 6% to 878p, and Cranswick, down 2,772p.

Risers included Just Eat Takeaway, up 9.7% to 1,420p after it upped its earnings forecast, HelloFresh, up 4.5% to €23.51, and Naked Wines, up 5.1% to 85.7p.